POLITICS

Warnings About Potential Terror Attacks Preceded Ottawa Shooting

10/22/2014 03:18 EDT | Updated 10/22/2014 04:59 EDT

Canada received several warnings about potential terror attacks in the weeks preceding Wednesday's siege at Parliament Hill that left at least one soldier and one suspect dead.

The situation continues to unfold, lockdowns are in effect and timelines are still being pieced together in the immediate aftermath of the Wednesday morning shootings at the National War Memorial and Centre Block, the main building of Parliament that contains the House of Commons, the Senate and many offices of MPs, senators and staff.

The attacks occurred as Canadians were still reeling from Monday's terror-motivated assault on two Quebec soldiers.

The RCMP has said it is too early to discuss whether law enforcement had picked up on warnings of a potential attack, adding that it took them by surprise. But there have been rising tensions about homegrown terrorism after ISIS last month

" target="_hplink">called on extremists to attack members of the military and civilians in Canada.

Canada's domestic terrorism threat alert was quietly raised last week from "unlikely," or low, to "could occur," or medium, for the first time in four years.

"Intelligence indicates that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism. ITAC assesses that a violent act of terrorism could occur," says a document reportedly leaked to Global News.

One government source told HuffPost Wednesday that the security assessment may not have trickled down to Hill security.

The threat level was raised due to an "increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations like (ISIS) Al Qaida, Al Shabaab and others who pose a clear threat to Canadians," a spokesman for the public safety minister told Global News.

The report apparently also warned that Canadian extremists could turn on their own country if they are prevented from going abroad.

Earlier this week, Martin Rouleau, a Quebec man believed to be linked to a "terrorist ideology," killed one soldier and injured another in a hit-and-run that is believed to be politically motivated. Roleau had been on a Canadian watchlist and had his passport revoked. He had attempted to travel to Syria.

On Oct. 10, Canada's top military commander advised members of the Canadian Forces to be vigilant and suggested a security review of defence buildings could be in the works. He also warned about the possibility of retaliation for Canada's involvement in the war against ISIS.

Two weeks ago, NBC reported Canadian authorities had heard potential terrorists discussing the possibility of knife and gun attacks in Canada, citing "intelligence officials" as the source of their information.

"Canadian officials have said is the most dangerous time since 9/11 for a domestic terror attack," according to NBC.

The report was later dismissed by Canadian security sources, but that didn't stop the Conservative government from using it to press its case for tougher surveillance and other anti-terror methods for police and intelligence officials.

The Canadian Press reported Wednesday that MPs and senators have been nervous for years about how easily members of the public can access the Parliament buildings.

Canada's auditor general issued a report pointing out flaws and calling for better integrated security around Parliament in 2012, according to The Globe and Mail.

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